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Thread: Breakthrough Anti-Aging Research?

  1. #1
    That's no moon. EyeKhan's Avatar
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    Default Breakthrough Anti-Aging Research?

    Hello Wiggin. Get that blanket good and wet.

    I saw this article and thought it pretty interesting.


    Scientists rejuvenate old human cells, make them look and act younger
    By Brooks Hays | Nov. 7, 2017

    Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Scientists have found a way to breath new life into old, inactive human cells.

    As detailed in a new paper published in the journal BMC Cell Biology, the rejuvenation technique had cells dividing within a few hours of treatment. The resuscitated cells also boasted longer telomeres, the chromosome caps that shrink as cells age.

    Researchers at the University of Exeter found that a group of genes called splicing factors get turned off one by one as cells grow older. Scientists, however, found different chemical concoctions can turn the splicing factors back on, causing cells to look and act younger.

    To kickstart the rejuvenation process, researchers exposed cell cultures to reversatrol analogues, chemical derivatives of a substance that occur naturally in red wine, dark chocolate, red grapes and blueberries.

    Aging is linked with a variety of cellular defects, and these degenerative effects increase the likelihood of many chronic diseases, including stroke, heart disease and cancer.

    The latest discovery could pave the way for treatments that slow down the aging process and prevent such defects, diminishing the risk of aging-related diseases.

    "This is a first step in trying to make people live normal lifespans, but with health for their entire life," Lorna Harries, a professor of molecular genetics at Exeter, said in a news release. "Our data suggests that using chemicals to switch back on the major class of genes that are switched off as we age might provide a means to restore function to old cells."

    Scientists have previously slowed the cellular aging process in lab mice through chemical stimulating, genetic manipulation and caloric restriction, but researchers were surprised to achieve such definitive and rapid results among human cells.

    "When I saw some of the cells in the culture dish rejuvenating I couldn't believe it. These old cells were looking like young cells. It was like magic," said Eva Latorre, research associate at Exeter. "I repeated the experiments several times and in each case the cells rejuvenated. I am very excited by the implications and potential for this research."

    Splicing factors are genetic instructions for a variety of tasks. These factors inform cells how to function and react under a range of circumstances. But as cells age, these splicing factors begin to shut down, leaving cells less adaptable.

    Every organ features so-called senescent cells, cells that are still alive but that don't function properly. With fewer or no splicing factors, these cells are less able to control their genetic expression, making the cells and organ more susceptible to disease.

    "When you treat old cells with molecules that restore the levels of the splicing factors, the cells regain some features of youth," Harries said. "Far more research is needed now to establish the true potential for these sort of approaches to address the degenerative effects of aging."
    Article Link: https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017...76280/?ref=yfp

    Research Paper Link: https://bmccellbiol.biomedcentral.co...860-017-0147-7
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    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    "This is a first step in trying to make people live normal lifespans, but with health for their entire life," Lorna Harries, a professor of molecular genetics at Exeter, said in a news release. "Our data suggests that using chemicals to switch back on the major class of genes that are switched off as we age might provide a means to restore function to old cells."
    What is a "normal" lifespan?

  3. #3
    That's no moon. EyeKhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    What is a "normal" lifespan?
    Researches in this field are careful not to call it life-extension research, lest they get tarred as quacks. So they've been describing their work as extending "healthspan" within the parameters of a normal lifespan. So, I'm guessing they are considering a normal lifespan however long someone would live without affliction from typical age-related illness.

    In a broader sense, I'd say "normal" lifespan's been a moving target at least over the last few centuries. Is it the average of a particular time within a particular civilization? Or is there some number you can define, say how long someone would typically live if they are free of genetic disorders, eat well, exercise enough, avoid deadly infection, and don't get killed?
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  4. #4
    *shrugs* I don't know enough about mRNA splicing factors to really understand if this is an important advance or just a 'well, interesting, but...' kind of thing. I'd lean toward the latter, obviously, and the potential for clinical translation of these findings into a therapy is quite low. But it's certainly interesting.

    I think that the problem with the hype about this kind of research is that people have been reading too much science fiction, where packaged 'rejuvenation' treatments can restore health and youth when applied every few decades or so. That's almost certainly not what things will look like any time soon. Sure, we'll continue to work at this problem on the margins and slowly get a handle on some of the bigger culprits in aging - generally grouped into cardiovascular, orthopedic/mobility, neural, and neoplastic. But there's not going to be one magical cocktail that restores youth - it's more going to be the sort of thing you need to do to keep an old car running well - lots of regular maintenance, occasional replacement and repairing of entire systems that are failing, etc.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  5. #5
    That's no moon. EyeKhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    *shrugs* I don't know enough about mRNA splicing factors to really understand if this is an important advance or just a 'well, interesting, but...' kind of thing. I'd lean toward the latter, obviously, and the potential for clinical translation of these findings into a therapy is quite low. But it's certainly interesting.

    I think that the problem with the hype about this kind of research is that people have been reading too much science fiction, where packaged 'rejuvenation' treatments can restore health and youth when applied every few decades or so. That's almost certainly not what things will look like any time soon. Sure, we'll continue to work at this problem on the margins and slowly get a handle on some of the bigger culprits in aging - generally grouped into cardiovascular, orthopedic/mobility, neural, and neoplastic. But there's not going to be one magical cocktail that restores youth - it's more going to be the sort of thing you need to do to keep an old car running well - lots of regular maintenance, occasional replacement and repairing of entire systems that are failing, etc.
    To be sure, nothing is simple. That's as close to a universal truth as any I've encountered in my life experience.

    That said, this might be a pathway to rejuvenate certain organs or even just tissues, certain cell types and not others, etc. And in that capacity it might prolong lifespan or healthspan for certain people, until something else in their body fails and kills them. Or it may just reduce or eliminate instances of certain diseases or even disease types. And yes, maybe not pan out to do anything much at all for any number of reasons.

    But it's encouraging and cool stuff, to be sure as well.

    EDIT: Well, I think it's encouraging. Some people are really down on even the idea of life extension.
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    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    How long do you want to live, Choobs? No offense, but you're sounding like Alberjohns.

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    That's no moon. EyeKhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    How long do you want to live, Choobs? No offense, but you're sounding like Alberjohns.
    I want to live until something kills me. If there were treatments available to extend a healthy lifespan indefinitely, I'd take them until something killed me, I think. Maybe I'd get fed up with it all and stop the treatments at some point, but until then, I'd live. And why not?
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